Choosing your Challenges

Good morning, Fuzzbutts!

I believe in the importance of challenging yourself to experience growth. It could be a physical challenge to get healthier or stronger, or it could be a drawing challenge. Maybe it’s something that just challenges your discipline like picking a time to sleep every night.

Choosing a challenge is like choosing a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-based). The only real difference between a goal and a challenge is that a challenge is designed to stretch yourself regardless if you accomplish it. If you exercise, maybe the challenge is to eat less sweets. If you draw, maybe it’s to try new poses or draw a subject you don’t usually draw. If you’re not the spontaneous type and want to be more-so,

You already know the areas of your life that could use some work. It’s the part about yourself that you routinely think about throughout your day. A random thought will pop into your head like I’m always tired; I want to be drawing right now; I should finish blank. Based on these thoughts, you can pick a challenge around it. I tend to be tired a lot.  So what would the challenge be? Improving my sleep. How do I improve my sleep? Better diet? More exercise? Meditate to reduce stress before bed? How long do I practice this for? 30 days? A couple weeks?

I hope you’re able to identify the areas you should challenge yourself in and pick out something you can do to improve yourself. There’s never been a good story without some sort of challenge arising for the main character. If you’re the main character, what’s the challenge you’re going to face?

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Anxiety Overwhelming? How I dealt with a recent bad patch.

Good morning, fuzzbutts!

Been a busy couple of weeks for me. The job has been working me hard. I’m trying to close a deal on a home. I’ve been talking to various parties on how to get this home purchase done. I’m trying to find the time to draw. I’m working around my folks’ home to improve the place as much as possible before I move (landscaping mostly). I’ve been sleeping really lousy and I noticed I’m starting to get a little shaky in my hands sometimes. When I flop into bed at night, my heart starts to pound and, in spite of how tired I feel, I can’t fall asleep for a long while. When I do sleep lately, I wake up 2-3 times in the middle of the night. Gee whiz! How could anyone not feel so stressed?

The first thing I had to do was realized I was stressed. Not just temporary quick stress but prolonged, untreated stress. Even though I knew I was tired and not sleeping well, it was tough to recognize I was stressed. Once I knew I was really stressed out, I had to figure out why I was stressing. I tallied up the reasons why I was stressed and then needed a way to deal with it. Just diagnosing all of this took a lot of processing.

So what did I do? Normally, sleeping better would be the first step. In spite of trying to sleep better, I wasn’t able to stop waking up in the middle of the night. It was worsening a difficult situation but it wasn’t the cause of my stress. Normally I get stressed due to a lack of sleep but this was me lacking sleep due to stress. I had other things to focus on if I wanted to improve my sleep.

One, I had to stop trying to rush the process on the home buying. Yes, a labor day weekend to move all my stuff and settle in would be nice. No, I can’t actually rush through the paperwork and get all parties to sign it immediately. No it’s not so bad to only have a two-day weekend to move my stuff. Yes I am excited to move into my own home. No, I don’t have to keep talking about moving to everyone or asking for random advice.

Two, just because I was moving didn’t mean I had to rush fixing up the folks’ home. I wasn’t moving super far and would still have weekends to help out if my parents need it. It’s physically demanding enough without me forcing it to happen with everything else going on.

Finding time to draw turned out to be one of the easier things to resolve. During lunch at work, I eat my meal and head to my car. I brave the heat to sit in my car and draw for a while. I don’t care to have coworkers see my furry art and I’d rather keep my time after work to hit the gym. Still, I find this time of the day to give me the least amount of mental resistance and I sometimes surprise myself with a quality piece I enjoyed making.

As far as work, I decided to pace myself better. I have some control of my time and I had been rushing to get as much done in as short a time as possible. If I schedule appropriately, I can get everything done without running around like a wuff with his head cut off. Also, while scheduling my own work, I volunteered any free time between tasks to helping others get their own work done. One of the most satisfying evenings was helping somebody who had to work extra late and save them a few hours of time. Getting out of my head and dedicating a few hours to helping somebody was so helpful.

Last night was the first night in a while I slept well. It’s not like the stress magically went away. It’s still there. I’m still dealing with it but it’s manageable again. Much of the rest will go away with time and once I get through the situation with moving and home purchasing. I also enjoy the thought that my commute will drop by more than half and I’ll have way more free time overall. Things are looking up, even if I got pretty down recently.

Notifications? More like NOPEifications

Hello fuzzbutts!

If you survived my humor in the title, you probably know where I’m already going right now but it’s still important for you to hear.

Here we go. You settle in, start working on a project that you feel is important. Then there’s a familiar beep from your other brain- your phone. You pick it up, answer the message, then settle back to what you were about to do. Then they respond or ask something else, sending you another chime. You answer again, this time holding onto your phone for their inevitable response. As you’re waiting, you get another buzz and realize your favorite game of candy destruction has finished refilling your lives so you can try again now. So you’re waiting for your friend and start demolishing colorful candies since you know you won’t get any work done before your friend messages you back. An hour later, your friend is done, the lives are spent, and now the motivation is gone.

So how do we avoid these situations and stay on task? First, disable notifications for all your games and apps that are more entertaining than useful. The entire purpose of those notifications is to keep you engaged in the app and coming back to increase your chance of purchasing things. If it was really super fun, you wouldn’t need reminders to hop back into the game.

Next, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone to silence any beeps and chimes from those texts. Unless you live in drama, there’s not going to be an emergency every time you’re working on a project and they can wait until you’re done and can check your phone.

Since I don’t get a lot of calls and texts, I leave my notifications on. If it’s something I’m really serious about, I’ll turn on DnD to make sure I’m not interrupted. As far as apps I allow for notifications, I leave on TimeTune since those keep me productive and thinking. If I do ever put a game on my phone, I make sure to shut off the ability to send notifications.

Anyway, I hope you continue to lead a distraction-free life and keep working on your goals! Keep up the good work, fuzzbutts!

Fall off the wagon? Time to get back on!

Hello fuzzbutts!

How’re those good habits coming along? Start drawing more? Eating better? Exercising more? All those good things? Did life get in the way?

Sometimes you’re eating better and then the convenience of lousy or fast food overtakes your new habit again and you’re back to eating some terrible food. You got active and healthier but then you got sick and had to stop. You’re all better now but it’s hard to start again and you feel like you’re starting from scratch again.

Well I have good news! Just because a good habit (or anything replacing a bad habit) has stopped doesn’t mean you’re starting from scratch again! Stopped exercising? You’re still healthier than you used to be and you know what to do the next time you hit the gym. Stopped drawing? Well all those extra hours or days of experience you built up before you stopped still have you as a better artist than before you got into the habit.

Imagine how awful it would be if you stopped drawing for a month and suddenly all your ability devolved to how good you were when you were 3Ick! 

So, since you were closer to your ideal life before, you just need to pick up the ball and run with it again. Resume working on those skills! Keep working on losing that weight! You’re further along than you think and you already did the hard work of starting the first time. Starting it up again will be easier this time. So dust off that list of good habits you stopped working on and give it another go!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Random Acts of Love

Hello fuzzbutts!

Tonight I wanted to talk about something I’ve been doing recently. Lately, I finally decided to take the pressure off myself as far as dating and enjoy my own company more while spending less time stressing about romance or being on the numerous apps I used. I noticed a shift in myself as I actually felt much more relaxed than I have in a while. More than that, I’ve found myself spreading this energy out to those around me and I feel like it’s been good for me and the responses I get make me feel even better.

Know anyone who creates? I happen to have friends who make a lot of art and also follow a ton of talented artists I’ve never spoken to. I happen to like their art. So why not tell them it’s great? Heck, if I get more than 20 favorites on a piece of art, I feel awesome. I feel even more awesome when people actually comment something positive on the piece. So how would they feel if I sent them a direct note? So that’s what I’ve been doing- Emailing, direct messaging, or noting the artists and creators once in a while that I appreciate their work and just how I think they’re so talented and amazing.

It’s a small gesture. It’s extremely small for something in a fandom where the content creators are really what drives the furry fandom. I feel the love of furry art, fursuits, and other media is what bring us furries together. The artistic world is full of self-doubt so you never know when an artist is feeling a little self-conscious or down on their abilities. So let them know you appreciate their work and how you feel about what they produce.

As a disclaimer, do not do this AND THEN ASK FOR SOMETHING. Nobody likes feeling manipulated and it undoes any good feeling the artist was getting from your compliment. It’s just a bad move and it’s not cool. Send a genuine compliment and just let them know you like their art.

You’re okay the way you are… or are you?

Hello fuzzbutts!

Happy to be here to bring you another post! Hope you’re all doing great. I’ve been having a good time but I’ve been thinking about something a lot of furries tend to do that pretty much self-sabotages us.

Something in life isn’t going the way we want. It might be something about the job or our bodies or something in our own behavior. We recognize there’s an issue and we get down on ourselves about it. Sometimes we share this with a friend. Our friend, well-meaning, responds with “You’re fine just the way you are.” You don’t actually feel any better about it, but you decide to push the problem away for now. Later, you’ll think about it again, seek validation that you’re still okay the way you are, and then avoid doing anything to help yourself.

However, if the problem is something that would improve the quality of your life like you want to get more fit, stand up for yourself more, be more patient with your friends, etc, then it’s a problem worth addressing. Blow up at somebody over something little? Overweight and think you need to get healthier? Feeling useless or like you’re a drag on your friends? Then you’re NOT OKAY THE WAY YOU ARE! You have some self-development to work on. Don’t let yourself settle for staying the same. You are the lead character of your own story and it’s a FACT that the best stories involve character development. I enjoy reading and nothing is more annoying than a main character who doesn’t evolve and grow as the story plays out. Same for movies. So many of the best stories involve a flawed main character who works to overcome their weakness and become the hero or heroine the observer can respect. That’s supposed to be YOU.

I want you to be the best you can be. I want to see you evolve and grow as people and fuzzbutts alike. You can’t do that if you stare at your own flaws and then say “Well I guess I’m fine the way I am.” Nobody is perfect and nobody will be perfect. On the flip-side, everyone can grow and do better.

Fall in love with your self-development. You know the things you’re doing wrong already. If you can’t think of it right now, stop for 2 minutes to think about it. You’ll come up with a pretty big list of things you could start to work on in very little time!

I love you and I want you to get on this journey to become the best you can be. Good luck, fuzzbutts!

Write Down Those Thoughts!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Ever have random thoughts when you’re out and about? You’re at the store and remembered a quick thing you need to take care of when you get home. You’re at work and think of a hundred small things you need to get done. You finally get home and realize you don’t remember what you were going to do. It happens often and you end up blowing a bunch of time not doing anything important because you can’t remember any of the tasks you wanted to do.

So how do we combat such a faulty memory? Writing things down! Keep a little notepad and pen in your pocket. As you go throughout your day, something will pop into your head with the unstoppable force of a shower thought. So take out your pad and write it down! Write it ALL down!

On a usual day at work, I’ll come up with anywhere from 7-15 items to complete. Once I’m home, I just sort the list and dump anything I can’t finish that day. I don’t write it on an eternal to-do list. I just dump the idea. If the idea pops up on another day, it goes through the same process and I might sort it out or take time that day to handle it. Weekends tend to be a good time to catch up on any of the larger projects that come across my brain.

So try to keep a pencil and pad with you at all time and be sure to write down anything you need to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s to light some incense or write a productive blog post. Once you’re able to sit with your list, look it over and do whatever it is you want to do for the day to call it a great day!

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Book Recommendation: The 12-Week Year

Hello fuzzbutts!

I wanted to drop another book on you all! I’ll summarize the gist of it and you can decide if it’s worth looking into for more details! I think it’s actually very useful and I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my life.

So it’s the start of the year (or end of another) and you come up with big goals for the year. Tons of things you want to improve or get done. You then live your life and realize it’s late October and you’ve done next to nothing. Suddenly there’s no time to get it all finished and you feel guilty for not taking steps toward your dreams. You push it off for next year and fall into the same trap.

The problem with goals for the year is that you have a whole year to do them. You lose a sense of urgency when it comes to working on them and so it falls to the wayside as you try to keep up with life.  You beat yourself up over it and regret the entire year because of how little you accomplished of the things that truly matter to you.

The idea of the 12-week year is to set your goals for every 3 months. I’ve discussed ideas like this before but this book really boils it down. By setting yourself up for 3 months, you can still set substantial goals for yourself. It’s also short-term enough that it’ll stay in your mind that you need to work on it (Write them on a white board to help!).

I just barely covered the main point of the book and book contains a lot of details and ways to think about this. So go read The 12 Week Year !

Good luck fuzzbutts!

The Mortal’s Disadvantage

Hello mortal fuzzbutts!

As we are such furry furry little mortals, we need to keep that one little fact in our minds. We’re all going to die at some point, some sooner than others. There’s so many things we want to do. There’s even more things that some of us hold ourselves back from or we wallow in something from our pasts that keeps us from moving ahead in life. That is our disadvantage.

This is just a reminder that we don’t have all the time in the world to do the things we want to do. It’s not about being a hedonist where you indulge to excess, end it early, or being irresponsible about rushing toward your dreams. It’s about YOU getting YOURSELF in gear, finding the things that provide meaning in YOUR life, and working toward accomplishing what you can. Do you want to be an artist? You’re not going to do it by playing video games all day. Want to travel? Don’t wait until retirement when you’re old and creaky when you can scrounge up enough money to do it sooner (Being responsible, of course).

I want you to put yourself out there some more. Write down your dreams. Settle on some goals. Finish the things that are your current priorities and free yourself up for your real priorities. Narrow down the scope of your life. It may be fulfilling to try and work on a ton of things at once but you can paralyze yourself. Look at those people around you who are the most successful. Chances are, they’re really amazing at just a couple of things.

So the bottom line of today’s advice is to realize you’re going to die eventually. Whatever your belief system is, please make the most of it. Remind yourself every day whether it’s a post-it note, an app, whatever that you don’t have forever. So how are you going to spend today?

““If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right.”

Good luck, fuzzbutts.

Organize that Desk!

Hello fuzzbutts!

Sorry for the delay again. I recently started a new job and that has been eating up my time lately as I try to get up to speed as quickly as possible. The good news is I finally made it to the big leagues as far as my career is concerned. Onward to today’s topic!

So in my eternal quest to clean and minimize, I eventually get everything off the floor to wonder if I actually set everything onto my desk. Random tools from when I opened up my computer, sewing needles and thread, canned air, folded pieces of paper beyond numbering. I have a massive pile of random things and trash!

Once the trash was all cleared off, I went ahead and decided to look through the drawers. Well that shattered my illusion that I had everything in order. I’m a productive wuff, not the cleanest wuff. Sometimes, that’s just how wuffs are.

So even if it takes time, it’s important to go through your desk and work spaces and make sure you have everything you need and put the rest into its proper place (or the trash). Removing all that clutter makes it easier to find the things you need at your desk. Do you really need 5 sets of post-it notes? Maybe just keep one and put the rest somewhere out of the way. Also, keeping that fork at your desk for a prolonged period of time after eating that ramen noodle cup is kinda gross. Go wash that.

Good luck fuzzbutts!